Can You Leave Pizza Dough Out Overnight?

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By Lori Walker, MS, RD | Published on March 13, 2023 | Last Updated on June 28, 2023

Ahh, pizza – the ultimate comfort food and crowd-pleaser. Whether you have a simple cheese or pepperoni slice or a fancy gourmet creation loaded with toppings, who can resist its deliciousness?

There are countless recipes out there to make your own perfect pizza dough from scratch–but that begs the question: Can you leave pizza dough out overnight?

Well, here we’re all about helping you find answers when it comes to making the perfect pie.

So, keep reading as we explore the ins and outs of letting your dough rest for an extra-long time before you roll it out for the next pizza night.

Can You Leave Pizza Dough Out Overnight?

Can you leave pizza dough out overnight?

It is generally not recommended to leave pizza dough out at room temperature for an extended period of time, as this can lead to over proofing or spoilage.

To achieve optimal results, store the dough at two and four degrees Celsius overnight; any deviation from these temperatures may yield undesirable outcomes.

If you do decide to leave the dough out overnight, it is important to use lean dough with minimal amounts of yeast and store it in a cool environment to prevent over proofing. You can roll the dough in dough balls for better results.

Even if the bread dough does overproof, you can still use it to make pizza, though it may result in a denser and less flavorful crust.

It is generally safer and more reliable to refrigerate the dough until you are ready to use it, as this will slow down the fermentation process and help to preserve the dough.

Also read: Can eating raw pizza dough make you sick

How long can pizza dough sit out before cooking?

Pizza dough made with a larger amount of yeast can stand at room temperature for 2-4 hours, whereas Neapolitan-style pizza dough that uses minimal yeast may stay out on the countertop for up to 24 hours.

The length of time that the dough can sit out will depend on various factors, such as the ambient temperature, the amount of yeast used, and the temperature of the water used to mix the dough.

As I said earlier, if you want to extend the time that the dough can sit out, you can use cold water and a lower amount of yeast when mixing the dough.

This can slow down the fermentation process and allow the dough to sit out for longer periods of time without over proofing.

How to store pizza dough after it rises?

No matter how you choose to store your dough, make sure it is properly sealed using either a bowl with plastic wrap on the surface or wrapping the entire dough in plastic wrap, securing it in a sealed bag or airtight container.

Proper storage can help to maintain a fresh dough vibe. After your pizza dough has risen and is ready to use, there are several ways that you can store it to keep it fresh and preserve its texture and flavor.

Also read: How to reheat pizza in a pan

Here are some options for storing pizza dough:

Refrigerate the dough

This is a good option if you are not planning to use the dough for a few days. Simply wrap the raw pizza dough tightly in plastic wrap or ziplock bags. 

You can also place it in an air-tight container and store it in the refrigerator. The dough will continue to ferment and rise, but at a slower rate due to the colder temperature.

If you want to store the ball of dough for an extended period of time, freezing is a good option. Then shape the frozen pizza dough into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

Put the wrapped dough in a freezer-safe bag or container, and then store it securely away in your freezer.

If you’re ready to use your frozen dough balls, no need to wait long! Simply take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to come up to room temperature before forming then baking. If you’d like, freeze the dough for future convenience!

Use a dough-rising bucket

Dough-rising buckets, also known as fermenting pails or crocks, are airtight containers that provide the perfect environment for pizza dough to rise.

The tight seal lets gas escape while trapping in moisture to keep the crust moist and pliable. With a good-quality bucket, you can store your dough at room temperature for up to 4 hours.

On top of this, you can place it in the refrigerator or freezer for longer storage times. And when you’re ready to use your dough, just take it out of the bucket and begin shaping! 

Also Read: How to keep pizza dough from sticking to pan

What is the Best Place for your Pizza Dough to Rise?

To ensure that your pizza dough rises to its full potential, you need to provide a warm and draft-free environment.

Placing pizza dough in the oven might be a good idea if your kitchen is cold. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees for a few minutes to get it warm, then shut off the heat. Then place the dough inside to rise. 

An alternate option for thawing your frozen bowl is to swaddle it with a towel and set it in a cozy spot in your kitchen.

For those who are unable to access a warm space, you can also employ plastic wrap or drape a moist towel over the bowl to keep heat from dissipating.

While preparing your dough, keep the bowl off of any countertops or tables, as constant exposure to heat from below can hinder the dough’s ability to rise correctly and reach its maximum potential within a day.  

Also read: Best pizza grill pans

Tips to Avoid Over-Proofing Your Pizza Dough

Here are some tips to help you avoid over-proofing your pizza dough:

Use the correct amount of yeast

Most home cooks use too much yeast in their pizza recipes. Using too much yeast can cause your dough to rise too quickly, leading to over-proofing. Follow the recipe and measure out the correct amount of yeast time to ensure proper rise.

Monitor the temperature of your proofing environment

If your dough rises too quickly, it may be due to the environment’s temperature. Make sure the proofing area is not too warm, as this can cause the dough to rise too quickly.

Use a timer

Set a timer to remind yourself to check on the dough regularly. This will help you avoid letting the dough rise for too long.

Check for visual cues

The dough should look puffy and soft when it’s ready to be shaped. If it appears to be deflated or dense, it may be over-proofed.

Use the “poke test”

Gently press your finger into the surface of the dough. If the dough springs back quickly, it’s ready to be shaped. If it doesn’t spring back, it may be over-proofed.

Punch down the dough

If you notice that the dough has risen too much, gently punch it down to release the excess gas and then reshape it.

What to do if you overproof dough?

Overproofed dough can be frustrating, as it can result in less-than-ideal baked goods. It may not rise as much during baking. However, if you find yourself with overproof pizza dough, don’t despair!

The Americas Test Kitchen has discovered a simple solution for over-proofed doughs. All you need to do is punch the dough down delicately and re-form it before allowing it to proof again for the recommended time. 

By following these steps, you can use the bread, both flavourful and pleasant in texture!

How to tell if pizza dough is over-proofed?

There are a few key signs that your pizza dough may be overproofed:

  • The dough has risen significantly beyond its original size and appears to be deflated or dense.
  • When you gently press your finger into the surface of the dough, it doesn’t spring back quickly.
  • The dough is too soft and sticky to handle easily.
  • When you shape the dough into a pizza or other desired shape, it doesn’t hold its form and collapses.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s likely that your dough is over-proofed.

How to know that your Pizza Dough is Ready?

How to know that your Pizza Dough is Ready?

Making your own pizza dough at home is a rewarding and delicious process. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or just starting out, it’s important to pay attention to the rise and readiness of your dough to ensure a perfect end result.

According to food experts, here are a few tips to help you know when your pizza dough is ready to be shaped and baked. Here is an analysis of the pizza dough that is ready:

  • The dough has doubled in size or reached the desired level of rise. Classic pizza dough has less yeast in it.
  • The dough appears puffy and soft.
  • When you gently press your finger into the surface of the dough, it springs back quickly.
  • The dough is easy to handle and shape into your desired form.


How Long Can You Leave Pizza Dough At Room Temperature?

To ensure a delicious pizza, you must prepare the dough properly! Standard pizza dough requires more active yeast and can rest on your countertop for 2-4 hours before cooking.
Alternatively, Neapolitan style pizza dough uses less yeast and should not exceed 24 hours of sitting out at room temperature. To preserve freshness for either type of dough, store it in airtight containers or zip lock bags with plastic wrap securely covering them.

How To Keep Pizza Dough From Drying Out?

There are a few key steps you can take to help prevent your pizza dough from drying out:
First, be sure to store your dough correctly. After mixing and kneading the dough, place it in an air tight container and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. This will help keep the dough moist and prevent it from drying out.
Another important step is to avoid overworking the dough. When shaping and rolling out the dough, handle it gently and avoid stretching it too thin, as this can cause it to become dry and brittle.
You can also try brushing the dough before shaping and rolling it out. This will help keep the dough moist and pliable, making it easier to work with and less prone to drying out.
By following these tips, you can help keep your pizza dough moist and flavorful.

How To Store Homemade Pizza Dough?

There are a few options available if you’re looking for ways to store your pizza dough in the refrigerator. You can cover the surface of the dough with plastic wrap and place it in a bowl or completely envelope it with the plastic wrap. 
We recommend storing them in the fridge for up to 2 days for quick rise doughs. Alternatively, secure your pizza dough inside an airtight bag or container for optimal freshness!

Wrapping Up

Thanks for joining us as we explored the question: Can you leave pizza dough out overnight?

The answer is no, as it is not recommended to leave the dough out at room temperature overnight. 

To ensure optimal results, store your dough in a cool environment like a refrigerator and use lean dough with minimal amounts of yeast. If you do let the dough rest overnight, roll it into balls before baking to achieve better results.

No matter how you prepare your dough or what kind of topping you choose, everyone can agree that homemade pizza is one seriously delicious meal!

So next time you’re planning a night filled with pizza-making fun, make sure to keep these tips in mind for success every time. 

Please share your pizza-making stories with us in the comments! We’d love to hear how you roll out the perfect pie. Thanks for reading!

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My name is Lori Walker. I’m a registered dietitian, food blogger and food enthusiast. I share easy healthy, delicious recipes on my blog and review necessary kitchen items. The recipes I share take less… Read more

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